If the first week of games in Year 2 of Citi Field has taught us anything, it's that the Mets got it 100 percent right in the fan-friendly changes they made to the ballpark.
Gone is the feeling you were walking into a 21st-century version of what Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds would have looked like if they had been built today and merged into one stadium.
Instead, Mets history is being celebrated in the team's new Hall of Fame, in the banners of retired players hung around the park, in the kitchy, lovable old Home Run Apple, which now sits in front of the entrance to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, and in other thoughtful touches.
From the chatter we've picked up, Mets fans are happy with the changes. So kudos to the Mets. They swung and missed at the first pitch but got an extra-base hit the second time around.
Appropriately for spacious Citi Field, the Mets didn't hit that second pitch out of the park. They are standing on third with a triple. There's one more thing they should think about doing to turn this project into a home run:
Bring back Banner Day.
Remember Banner Day? Mets fans of a certain age do. Fans were allowed to write messages on bed sheets and parade around the field between games of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. It was a uniquely Met thing to do and was a ton of fun.
The tradition died out in the early '90s, though. It was a victim of the lack of scheduled doubleheaders, the lack of class from some fans who took the opportunity to be crude instead of clever, and the idea that the tradition had just run its course.
Who knows? Maybe the high price of bed sheets had something to do with it. Mom probably wasn't too happy to find out Junior's best sheets had been sacrificed to proclaim undying affection for Lee Mazzilli.
We know it's a different world today than it was when Banner Day was at its peak. The Mets probably don't want to be in the position to censor fans, some of whom would try to honor foul-mouthed icons like Howard Stern rather than 1986 icons like Howard Johnson.
But we say it's worth a shot to try Banner Day 2.0 before a Sunday game this summer. If it works, it could be an excellent sign(s) of the times: that the Mets not only listen to their fans but want to see what they have to say.
Heck, the Mets let young fans run the bases after some games. They let fans bring Fido and Spot for canine appreciation days. They give away magnetic schedules, scarves and bobblehead dolls. All nice, but nothing that is uniquely Met.
We know Banner Day 2.0 has to have some ground rules. Here's the big one:
Only kids affiliated with community organizations get to parade with appropriately themed banners.
The Mets do an excellent job with their community outreach; there's no reason they couldn't invite kids groups to make a project out of creating the banners, circling the field with them and then enjoying a ballgame.
Throw in a quick meet-and-greet with a player or two at home plate, and you've just created a whole new generation of fans.
What do the Mets have to say about this idea? We reached out to executive vice president of business operations Dave Howard on Friday, and he wasn't available. The team did issue a statement:
"We have made numerous enhancements to Citi Field that embrace our history and heritage. We will continue to listen to feedback from our fans as we consider additional changes in the future."
That's not a yes, but it's not a no, either. So how about it, Mets fans? Is it time to bring back Banner Day?